Greensheets spell changes
26 May 2023
There’ll be a new leader of the pack when your FTS Bandits,…
Not for the first time this season Chris Harris enjoyed an unbeaten evening. Indeed, his latest “maximum”, a clean sweep of the FTS Bandits, powered by Keenwood Karpets, awards’ night meant that he needed a helping hand on Friiday night.
Son Cruz became the keeper of the trophies as dad Chris was called on stage time after time at a packed Radio Rooms. In the end he had the Riders’ Rider of the Year, Berwick Bandits Supporters Club Rider of the Year and the Fans’ Rider of the Year shields and plaques to show off to mum Emma-Louise and sister Amara-Mae who had joined them on the long journey north for Friday’s big bash.
But as club co-owner Jamie Courtney pointed out in his address to the audience there is much more to Berwick Speedway than just the Bandits these days.
While admitting that Championship results were not what he had hoped for, the boss man revealed that Berwick was again making the not inconsiderable commitment to field teams in Championship, National Development League and Northern Junior League while continuing to steer the next generation of young guns via the Grant Henderson Training Academy at Duns.
“All three of our teams produced some hugely entertaining nights and, six years after taking over the club, we feel that we have built some solid foundations to move forward from.
“Silverware is in short supply and it would be good to put that right too but the Bullets becoming the first Berwick team to reach top of the table play-offs throws down a challenge to the 2023 Bandits.
“A lot of hard work goes in behind the scenes and by a dedicated group of volunteers to make sure that Berwick not only lines up alongside but can compete with big city clubs, their huge catchment areas and financial clout.
“But here we are, preparing for our 55th season, ready to dig deep and do it all again.
“We have a double British Champion in Leon who has competed at GP level after beginning in the second-halves at Shielfield. He has blazed the trail and the exciting thing is there is a batch of talent looking to follow.”
With the BSPL meeting for its AGM this week there will be a confirmation of points limits for Championship and NDL and the planners can begin drawing up what looks set to be a full fixture list for the sole remaining regular Saturday night club in British speedway.
Ace Pijper’s sensational debut season which saw him win his first professional race aged just 15 and rarely look back from that night at Armadale saw him voted Bullets’ Riders’ Rider of the Year while Berwick-born Mason Watson won the online vote.
For the Academy Stene Pijper was named Rider of the Year while Caydin Martin, who is set to concentrate on 250s next season, was named Most Improved Rider for the second succesive season.
Steve Hayward and Dick Barrie compered a typically lively bash with the management promising team news once the ink has dried on contracts.
Caydin Martin quickly became a key member of the NJL side